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A triumphant return

As we countdown to the 35th America's Cup The Royal Gazette will bring you one fun fact a day about the boats, the sailors, the crew, or the history of this illustrious competition. There are now 23 days until the month-long sporting spectacle gets under way.

On July 23 last year hot, sunny conditions and thousands of fans lined the Portsmouth seafront to watch the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series action, the first day of points scoring races on the Solent at the 2016 event.

Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR team stamped the ‘bring the Cup home' message by tying with French team Groupama at the top of the leaderboard. They scored a photo finish fifth place and two firsts, delighting a huge home crowd gathered on the Southsea seafront.

A light breeze allowed only the briefest moments of foiling, but the slower racing threw up some exciting and occasionally farcical moments of drama: numerous position changes; three-boat raft-ups at the leeward mark; a few minor collisions and several protests. The incoming tide added another ingredient to a mix that shuffled the fleet repeatedly.

Land Rover BAR was outmanoeuvred by French team Groupama on the first leg of race one and never recovered their position in that race. But they left themselves able to find clear air and exploit the stronger breeze on the right hand side of the course on races two and three to build a decisive lead.

“In the first race we sailed with the other boats far too long and we ended up going backwards,” commented wing trimmer Paul Campbell James. “From that, the coaching team and the boys on board identified it was something we didn't want to do and Ben and Ed [Powys, tactician], managed to get us away from the other boats and we could sail clean and fast.”

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Published May 03, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 03, 2017 at 7:52 am)

A triumphant return

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